We've got to stop staring at the broken plate.
Reason 1: Dwelling on mistakes hinders you from being present.
A lot of time is wasted when you get trapped inside your mind to look over all of your past mistakes. Most of the time they will be relevant to the present situation, whether that is trying to get a new job, make a big decision, or perhaps mend a relationship. You will be tempted to think back to a time when it didn’t go well.
Second guessing becomes dwelling, and dwelling become paralyzing fear of the situation to where you do nothing. The danger is being stuck in an endless loop, essentially going nowhere.
You cannot let your past determine your future. You can let it aid your decision making, and it can certainly play a big role in strengthening your identity and finding who you are. But if you let your past failures set the tone for the future, it will be difficult to get out of your comfort zone and craft a bright future.
Don’t stare at the broken plate. If you drop it and it breaks, you’ll almost immediately jump into action to clean it up and make sure the area is safe for people to walk around. Imagine thinking that way about your other mistakes. What a great power that would be.
Reason 2: Dwelling on your past mistakes brings the whole vibe down.
Sometimes we forget to realize that when we get stuck inside ourselves, we affect the people around us. Friends, family, coworkers and more are affected by our mood, and it will become even more evident if we let our attention and actions be limited by our fear of failure.
This is a difficult lesson to learn, but we have to understand that it’s not always about us. If you dwelling on your mistakes causes other people’s discomfort and sadness, then it is time to reevaluate your thinking and make a change.
Sometimes people are great at covering up and masking their emotions, which is another issue altogether, but rarely does that last long before someone can figure it out. If something has happened where you need additional help and counsel, we urge you to take action and figure out the best avenue to put your mind at ease and make things rights.
Again, some mistakes are bigger than others, and we are not discrediting that in anyway. But it is what we do with the mistakes afterwards that truly make us stronger.
Reason 3: You are your own worst critic.
You need to give yourself some more credit. Seriously. We are our own worst critics when it comes to any given task, goal, or when we are looking for popularity. We need to eliminate the spotlight effect. The spotlight effect is where you walk into a room and believe everyone’s eyes are on you, ready to judge every piece of what you are wearing, thinking, and what you are about to do.
We can promise this is not actually happening. People are going on about their business the same way you are. Those people don’t know your past mistakes, and they certainly don’t think anything of you since they don’t know you. So why are we so afraid of others opinions? Because we don’t want to fail. We don’t want people to know our failures.
This is a fine goal, but you cannot let it cripple you from taking action. You are your own worst critic. So give yourself some grace and move forward.
Reason 4: Stop using past failures as self-punishment.
Sometimes sitting and dwelling on your past mistakes can feel like a punishment. Like you are punishing yourself for your past actions because you deserve to sit and think about what you did. This might look like self-isolating and grieving over failures or something else.
If you were meant to be punished, then you would have been, or maybe you already received reprimand and made things right. If so, there is no reason to self-punish. Don’t go into isolation and be alone. That is going to make things even worse.
It’s most likely better for you to be in community and receive help and guidance if something is truly bothering you. If something way in the past is creeping up and keeping you from moving forward, it might be the Devil distracting you from the goal. Don’t give him the answer. Think forward and use your mistakes as lessons learned.
Reason 5: Dwelling on your past is just not productive.
One of the common thread through our CAN YOU NOT series is productivity. And almost every topic we have hit on so far causes people to be unproductive. Gossiping is not productive, disrespecting your boss or spouse is not productive. Blowing off or bailing on friends is not productive. And dwelling on your past mistakes is absolutely not productive.
We know this is a hard subject and a difficult task to accomplish, but you have to start thinking about how much time could be spent doing something else actually productive. We aren’t suggesting that meditating and learning from mistakes and failures isn’t useful. It is. But not to the point of hours and days.
What is the action you can take after learning form a failure? Try focusing on the positive and moving forward rather than staying stuck in the past. This will most likely be a life long struggle, but the better we practice now, the better we will be at moving past our mistakes in the future.
QUESTION OF THE DAY:
How do you handle past mistakes and failures? What are tips and tactics you use to not dwell on your past?
If you haven’t checked out our blog on gossip verses venting, you can check that out here. Don’t forget to checkout the playlist and follow the conversation on YouTube!